GAI PresidentJohn-Jefferies.jpg

John Jefferies is Group Managing Director of Laidlaw Solutions Limited. John led a management buy-out in 2003 when he acquired Laidlaw from Ingersoll Rand. John and his management team have since grown the business aggressively through a combination of organic growth, strategic acquisition and diversification of product offering. Prior to acquiring Laidlaw John was Managing Director of Knauf Insulation (formerly Owens Corning) and previously Group Finance Director of the Owens Corning International Building Materials business.

An Accountant by training and MBA qualified with strong General Management experience, John has an impressive record of strategic and operational leadership coupled with an appetite for customer focussed growth. A keen Golfer and an Everton fan, John looks forward to delivering further growth and profitability for Laidlaw Solutions Limited as the business continues to expand geographically, both nationally and internationally and through addition of a wider product and service offering.

As the current President of The Guild, John welcomes the opportunity to support the Vice-President, Chief Executive and the wider GAI to help ensure we are well positioned from a financial perspective to achieve our operational plans and strategic goals.

Chief ExecutiveGary-2011.jpg

Gary was appointed Chief Executive of the GAI on the 18th of February 2008.

Previously he has a regional Director for the National Federation of Builders for ten years where he was a member of the Chief Executive’s Group of the Federation, the senior management team which drove the strategic direction and policies of the organisation. He also had operational responsibility for the NFB’s membership in the London, Eastern and Southern regions; directing service delivery and recruitment and retention of members.

DipGAI, RegAI, MinstAI

Andy fell into Ironmongery after serving for 6 years in the Royal Navy. It was on the resettlement course that he met Construction Supplies Ltd and had 14 years learning his trade with them. It was there that Andy was first involved with the GAI when he took the 4 year course as it was then, and won the Roddy Campbell award in 2000 as the top scheduler that year.

From there he moved and had two small stints at George Boyd & Concept Hardware. During his time with George Boyd he joined the scheduling team with Dave Martin, a man that he is said to have learnt a great deal from. Andy later joined the Education Committee that he has been serving on for the last 6 years.

After Concept, Andy moved to join the Lloyd Worrall Group in Sheffield where he spent a good five years working under the direction of Paul Bellamy.
Having left Lloyd Worrall Andy was given the chance to become the Branch Manager of an old name in ironmongery, being Dryad Architectural in Leicester.

Andy states he is “Very happy to take over from Keith and hope that I can do as much as he has for the committee and the industry. I strongly believe that it is only through Education that we can have good ironmongers for the years to come.”

Shaun Brown (Chairman)  Shaun-Brown.JPG

Dip GAI, MInstAI, RegAI


"I have been active in the Institute since gaining my Diploma in 1997, I have been Chairman of the South West Branch and also Chairman of the Welsh Branch, and I am a committee member for both the Welsh and South Central Branches." SB 

Shaun is now serving on the Education Committee, and more recently been elected onto the Technical Committee, he is also the Institute liaison between the Education Committee and Institute National Executive. 

He has worked in the industry for over 29 years, enjoying 19 years in the Performance Door Market before concentrating his efforts on Architectural Ironmongery. Shaun has been fortunate to work for many leading manufacturers during the last 10 years gaining valuable Industry knowledge and meeting some fantastic people and making some great friends along the way! 

Jason Healy



DipGAI (Prize Winner) RegAI MInstAI Paul-Johnson.jpg

Paul Johnson is currently the Commercial Manager for UNION Architectural Hardware and Adams Rite Europe. Both these brands are owned by the global leader in door opening solutions ASSA ABLOY. Paul joined ASSA ABLOY in 1999 after 8 years with Scottish Power where he initially trained in Retail Management and then progressed to manage electrical superstores throughout the UK. Paul started his career as a Deck Officer in the British Merchant Navy. 

Paul joined the Executive Committee of the GAI in 2008. He enjoys the opportunity to contribute by providing a balanced view which ultimately could make a difference within the architectural ironmongery industry.

Vice Chairman

Mike is Dip GAI, and REG AI status works as Director for Architectural Ironmongery Business at Häfele (UK) Ltd and enjoys marking Exam papers for the Guild at all Levels.
Häfele (UK) is a new Guildmark member , At Häfele our aim is to always provide a high quality service to Architects and Specifiers, whether it is scheduling, technical advice or Network Approved CPD seminars”, “So I am pleased that the hard work and professionalism of our team has been recognised in the form of the Guildmark accreditation.”

Keith MaerKeith-Maer.JPG
DipGAI, RegAI, FInstAI
Education Manager

Keith entered the world of architectural ironmongery in the late sixties, working for one of the pioneering manufacturers of the day, namely R Cartwright & Co Ltd based near Birmingham city centre. At the time they were leading the way in new developments, especially in the production of aluminium door and window fittings. They were already well established in the manufacture of ironmongery in Mazak (zinc alloy), wood and Bakelite. Having completed an apprenticeship studying the processes in each of these factory departments Keith fulfilled a role in the sales office. He progressed to office manager as the company moved from Birmingham to the heart of the lock industry in Willenhall in 1973.

Not content with sitting on an office chair Keith’s aspirations were to be out on the road. This opportunity was not afforded him with his then current employer so he looked to the distribution and architectural specification sector to advance his career. A well known and respected figurehead in the industry at that time, namely Les Preece, saw the potential of a young eagle-eyed sales person and took him on. It was during this time that Keith completed his GAI studies, gained his Diploma and also progressed to the position of Sales Director of this extremely successful, independent Architectural Ironmonger.

As the company grew so did Keith’s interests expand but beyond the walls of the trade. The church he belonged to was also growing and began to take more of his time to lead and provide pastoral care. It was during the eighties and early nineties that Keith spent twelve fulfilling years in self employment to give scope for the church work and to continue as an independent architectural ironmongery consultant. During this period he became involved in lecturing for the GAI and was then invited to join the Education Committee on the basis that his training abilities could be channelled through the Guild’s education syllabus.

In 1994 Keith rejoined his former company which was now named Thomas Laidlaw Ltd and part of the Newman Tonks Group. During ten successful years his role included Corporate Sales Manager, Regional Manager, Sales Director and finally Product Manager. It was this role in product development that enabled Keith to return to the world of manufacturing. He fulfilled this role working with the Union and Yale brands in the Assa Abloy Group.

At the beginning of 2006 Kaba Ltd gave Keith the opportunity of moving back into sales by appointing him National Sales Manager and he continued to enjoy that role for four years.

Running parallel with his career in the architectural ironmongery industry, his interest in education developed strongly and he became chairman of the Guild’s Education Committee, also serving on the Executive Committee since 2001. 
During 2009 the GAI Executive Committee looked to appoint a full time Education Manager to ensure that when the current consult retired there was someone to develop the education programme further. Keith grasped this opportunity as if it were a dream come true. Having fervently ploughed this field and seen fruit for his voluntary labours over the last twenty years he now relishes the daily challenges of taking the programme to higher levels for our members and students.

Beyond the world of ironmongery, the GAI and education Keith ensures that he maintains a balanced lifestyle as he takes time for family including three children and their offspring. In addition to this his activities include teaching and care in a local church, squash, cycling, caravanning and hiking.



Mike O’Brien has served the Education committee for a number of years, marking exam papers/course work books, and he also lectures on Inclusive Design on the Guild residential courses. His experience spans 37 years with Laidlaw Solutions Ltd – based out of their Salford offices. He specifically deals closely with the Specification market covering Laidlaw’s ever expanding product portfolio of Architectural Ironmongery, Door sets, Railings, Access Control and Automatic door operators. 
Mike also plays a key role in the company’s GAI training, and is the key driver behind Laidlaw’s RIBA approved CPD’s. 

“At Laidlaw we are very proud of our in-house training and development – one of our many strong core values. With the ever increasing market changes, we are dedicated to delivering the differing skill sets reflected by the demands of our customers – enabling us to deliver the best possible technical advice and service covering all aspect of our business and the industry. “


IAI representative.


DipGAI (Silver Medallist) RegAI, MInstAI


Chris is an Education Committee member, examination sub-committee member and marker since 2005/6 academic year. In his opinion the Guild’s flagship is its Education programme and is very proud to be involved in its continued evolution. 

Chris was born in Hull, and has lived for last 30 years in Howden, East Yorkshire. Currently employed as Sales Manager of the Hinges and Fittings Division at Nico Manufacturing Ltd, Clacton-on-Sea. 
Chris cut his teeth in the industry at the family business in Goole, East Yorkshire, joining post A-levels in 1986. In a bid to further develop his career, joined Nico in 2001 as Northern Area Sales Manager on the Hinges & Fittings division – he now oversees the divisional sales operations in the UK and expanding Export markets. 



Julian Newman is the Managing Director of Oxford Ironmongery. Julian started his career in Architectural Ironmongery as a sales representative with Henderson Hardware some twenty years ago. "I will always be grateful to the directors of Henderson Hardware who had the ethos of training their staff and who put me through the GAI education program where I gained my DipGAI in 1992” say’s Julian. After rising to the position of National Sales manager with Henderson his career in Architectural Ironmongery continued with roles as a Specification Consultant for Dryad, Laidlaw and Dorma. Latterly Julian enjoying an opportunity with Cifial (UK), marketing their range of products to A.I.’s in the UK.

2004 saw a significant change in his career when the opportunity to purchase, established A.I. Oxford Ironmongery arose. “I’d known Oxford Ironmongery for many years and had always thought that it was the type of business I’d enjoy running and developing when the chance came I just grabbed it with both hands. Becoming a full member of the GAI was a high priority once I’d bought Oxford Ironmongery. The profile of the GAI is important in developing our business to Construction professionals. Who recognise the status of being a full member and having qualified staff that they can be confident in working with. The opportunity to now make a contribution to the GAI by sitting on the Marketing committee is rewarding experience. "

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Mar 26
GAI/RIBA Specification Awards 2015

The bi-annual GAI/RIBA Architectural Ironmongery Specification Awards are nearing and the...

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Education & training

At the heart of the Guild's activities is our highly respected education programme. The three-year Diploma course is the qualification for architectural ironmongers. Of the 2,000+ diploma-holders, hundreds have taken their education further, achieving Registered Architectural Ironmonger (RegAI) status, proving their commitment, expertise and professionalism.

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Technical expertise within the GAI is second-to none. The new technical area has been specifically designed to keep you up to date with the latest technical developments.

The GAI's technical representatives speak for the industry at home and abroad on committees concerned with building regulations, standards and legislation.

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